Raahil Chopra
Sep 29, 2014

Spikes Asia 2014: “Keep moving towards yourself, not towards the West” - BBDO's Mike Schalit

Celebrating diversity and creativity in the 'BRICS' were Josy Paul, chairman and CCO, BBDO India, and Schalit, CCO of Net#work BBDO (South Africa)

Spikes Asia 2014: “Keep moving towards yourself, not towards the West” - BBDO's Mike Schalit
On the fourth and final day of Spikes Asia 2014, BBDO India’s chairman and CCO Josy Paul and Net#work BBDO’s (South Africa) CCO Mike Schalit spoke about how ‘Creativity In The BRICS’  is ‘Same, Same But Different’.
Schalit started off with a version of the world map that showed Africa to be in the North. He said, “We are on the top in the map and that’s the mindset we should have for ourselves. We have a very good ‘can-do’ spirit in the continent.”
Re-defining 'BRICS' to include South Africa, Paul said, “Mike and I are brothers from the same mother – BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). We are connected by political history - Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The duo had a lot in common. They understood integrated communication long before it existed. They created cross-consumer engagement as well. Mandela and Gandhi were the worldwide creative directors of an organisation called ‘Freedom'.”
Schalit and Paul alternated with some path-breaking work from their respective countries.

Connecting ‘Black Beer’ with the continent, the TVC for Guiness reached 16 million people, said Schalit, across the second biggest market for the brand, Nigeria.
I am Mumbai – Mumbai Mirror (Taproot)

Paul said, “The TVC is a reflection of what’s happening in India.”
Work by M&C Saatchi Cape Town followed.
The Street Store for the homeless

After the two films, Schalit reflected, “Is it about the geography or the biology? It’s about none. It’s about the chemistry. We need to put things in a different light. If there’s catastrophe all around us, we have to look at it as an opportunity."
Next up was South Africa’s first outdoor Grand Prix-winning Cannes entry.
BBDO India’s ‘Soldier for Women’ campaign for Gillette featured next.

He said, “When a young girl was brutalised in Delhi, we (Indians) couldn’t take it in anymore. There was outrage everywhere. At first, celebrities didn’t step in but brands did. Gillette stepped it up with ‘Soldier for Women’. The film was a starting point and trigger for more people to join this movement. We received 12 million stories of courage shown by people.”
Destiny Magazine

Schalit pointed out that not everything needed to have serious hues, and quipped, "We can also have fun in developing nations.”
Chicken Licken

Schalit added in jest, “We have a history of defying the law because the law has been a little wrong. We have had healthy disrespect for rulers.”
The duo then showed another piece of work each.
Morphy Richards – The Last Drop
Nando’s Last Dictator Standing

Paul followed up on the two ads with work done by his agency for Visa.
Visa Debit

He said, “We created a saree that has alphabets on it so that women in villages could learn. We went to Gulzar sahib for an 'alphabet song'.”
Schalit observed how similar Africa was to India. Half the country's population is under 25 years, he noted, with fixed line telephone connections lesser than the number in New York City, but mobile penetration was close to 80 per cent.
What followed was work by OgilvyOne Cape Town for Carling.

The duo then envisaged a new 'BRICS' theme: Belief, Roots, Identity, Culture and Soul. Brands, they said, should commit to these characteristics.
Schalit surmised, “When you get it right, other nations and continents start borrowing from you. You become an inspiration. You must keep moving towards yourself and not towards the West.”
Campaign India